Taglines: Being a teenager can be murder.
A pair of abused and neglected teenage girls almost get away with murder: Sisters Sandra and Beth learned early in life that they had no one to depend on but each other. But when their addict mother Linda makes plans to move the girls in with her abusive lover, the girls’ situation becomes unbearable. Seeing no other way out, Sandra and Beth recruit their classmates to help them plan their mother’s murder.
When the girls’ guilt spins out of control and they compulsively confess their involvement to friends, rumors that they are cold-blooded killers reach the ears of the authorities. The film is a harrowing and heartbreaking look at the teen subculture that nurtured the girls’ murderous fantasies and covered up for them after they committed an unthinkable crime in an effort to create a normal life for themselves.
Perfect Sisters is a 2014 Canadian crime drama film directed by Stanley M. Brooks. The film stars Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley. The film was released on April 11, 2014. The film was based on the novel The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother, which itself was based on the real-life murder of Linda Andersen.
Film Review: Perfect Sisters
Ineffectual and cartoonish, “Perfect Sisters” dramatizes a case that shocked Canada a decade ago, when two teenage girls killed their alcoholic mother in order to be free of the chaos wrought by her perpetual irresponsibility — a well-planned crime that several of their classmates knew about before it happened.
TV producer Stan Brooks’ first directorial feature provides scant psychological depth, drawing its characters and staging their incidents in crude fashion, despite superficial production gloss. A limited U.S. theatrical launch April 11 is unlikely to significantly heighten visibility for a pic already available on demand and destined primarily for smallscreen sales.
Based on Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell’s true-crime tome (which is purportedly far less sympathetic toward the protags), Fabrizio Filippo and Adam Till’s script introduces us to high schoolers Sandra (Abigail Breslin) and Beth (Georgie Henley of “The Chronicles of Narnia” films) as they, along with a little brother, suffer yet another move to new digs.
The cause is, once again, their divorced mom Linda (Mira Sorvino) and her penchant for the bottle, which inevitably causes her to lose jobs and get them evicted. When she acquires a new boyfriend (James Russo) to pay the bills, his abuse and general creepiness hardly improve the family’s lot beyond the realm of rent.
Figuring they might actually be better off without Mom — but with an insurance settlement — the sisters hash out potential matricidal scenarios with best friends Justin (Jeffrey Ballard) and Ashley (Zoe Belkin), though whispers quickly spread beyond that close circle. Nonetheless, the real-life figures (whose names aren’t used here, since they were still minors when convicted) managed to pass the deed off as an accidental death for a time. They remain controversial figures in Canada, since they were incarcerated for only a few years each and subsequently attended universities on scholarship.
The unimaginative telepic tenor is varied — but not improved — by broad bits in which Sorvino plays various caricatured “ideal” mother figures. Mixing the heroines’ puerile fantasies with their much-less-than-ideal reality is a potentially interesting idea, but “Perfect Sisters” is no “Heavenly Creatures,” to say the least. Nor does the cliched dialogue or just-OK cast (in which Henley comes closest to creating a rounded character) help ground disturbing events in a credible everyday milieu a la “Razor’s Edge” and other fact-inspired tales of teen homicide. Still, the pic somewhat improves in its last third, when the deed is done and the girls prove very poorly equipped to keep their secret.
Shot in Winnipeg (the actual events took place in Mississauga, Ontario), the pic is competent but rather flavorless in all tech/design departments.
Directed by: Stanley M. Brooks
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Georgie Henley, Mira Sorvino, James Russo, Rusty Schwimmer, Zoë Belkin, Jeffrey Ballard, Sarah Constible
Screenplay by: Fab Filippo
Production Design by: Gordon Wilding
Cinematography by: Stéphanie Anne, Weber Biron
Film Editing by: Robin Katz
Costume Design by: Noreen Landry
Art Direction by: Scott Rossell
Music by: Carmen Rizzo
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: Gravitas Ventures
Release Date: April 11, 2014